Republicans may be committing a fatal error. During its proud history, the GOP has embraced heroic causes decrying slavery, preserving our union, defending modern capitalism, opposing Soviet communism and protecting unborn children. It is a seminal institution that has been pivotal in forging a free and prosperous America. If wiser heads do not prevail, however, the party is on the verge of committing suicide.
Leading Senate Republicans, such as John McCain of Arizona, Marco Rubio of Florida and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, are part of the so-called "Gang of Eight" pushing for comprehensive immigration reform. The proposal also has the support of numerous Democrats, including President Obama. It calls for tougher border security, which will never happen. That is a ruse. The southern border will remain porous. Yet, at the heart of the proposal is what left-wing multiculturalists have been demanding for years: a pathway to citizenship for more than 11 million illegal immigrants. In short, the bill grants mass amnesty.
The GOP establishment thinks amnesty is the key to unlocking the surging Hispanic electorate. Republicans have a major problem with Hispanics. For example, Mr. Obama received 71 percent of the Hispanic vote in 2012. Even former President George W. Bush an open-borders conservative who championed close ties with Mexico was barely able to get 40 percent of the Hispanic bloc. Hispanics now constitute a major part of the Democratic coalition. Since their numbers are swelling, the demographic future looks bleak for the GOP. Demography is destiny. Many Republicans fear they represent yesterday's America old, white and male.
Yet, amnesty is not a magic bullet; rather, it could ricochet and slay the GOP elephant. Exit polls have consistently shown most Hispanic voters do not rank immigration reform as a high priority. It is not even a top-five issue. If it was, then President Reagan's amnesty should have brought millions of Hispanics into the Republican big tent. It didn't. In fact, for the past 25 years, the trend has been in the opposite direction. Hispanics in increasing numbers are backing Democrats. The reason is simple: They want big-government liberalism.
The open-borders crowd is peddling the myth that Hispanics are "natural allies" of the GOP. They are supposedly deeply Catholic and, therefore, more "family-oriented" and potentially open to embracing Republican positions on abortion, homosexual marriage and stem-cell research. They are supposedly social conservatives masquerading as moderate Democrats the future shock troops of the Christian right.
This is false. The 2012 exit polls clearly revealed Hispanics voted Democrat owing to Obamacare. This was (and remains) their No. 1 issue. An overwhelming majority of Hispanics embrace government-run health care because they support a lavish entitlement state subsidized housing, free education, Pell Grants, long-term unemployment benefits, welfare, food stamps, Medicaid, Social Security and disability insurance. In other words, most Hispanics are natural Democrats. They prefer statism and higher taxes to small-government conservatism. They are not "values" voters. They vote their pocketbook. The Catholic Church openly criticized Obamacare, especially its contraceptive mandate and the administration's war on religious liberty. No president has been more anti-Catholic, Christophobic and pro-abortion than Mr. Obama. If socially conservative Hispanics couldn't oppose a radical leftist like him, they will never flock to the GOP.
Amnesty is a poisoned chalice; Republicans drink it at their peril. By allowing a path to citizenship for millions of illegal immigrants, the GOP is paving the way for permanent Democratic rule. The Democrats' voting rolls will swell with newly legalized foreigners. States with heavy Hispanic populations will become Democratic strongholds. Texas and Arizona will no longer be red states. Florida will flip from purple to blue. Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin will be unwinnable. The Republicans will be reduced to a regional rump party, clinging to the South and the Prairie states. They will go the way of the Whigs into the dustbin of history.
America is not a Third World nation. It is based on the rule of law. Amnesty rewards mass lawbreaking and undermines national sovereignty. It essentially encodes the pernicious principle that our borders do not exist and that we are unwilling to protect our homeland from a huge southern invasion. The costs have been enormous crowded emergency rooms, exploding crime, gun- and drug-trafficking, the immense drain on social services and cultural Balkanization. Illegal aliens are not refugees. They are criminals. Amnesty is nothing more than surrender.
This is why any amnesty will fracture the GOP, and force millions of conservatives including myself to form a new party. We will not abandon our nation. We will not accept it becoming a socialist empire. We will not embrace a United States of Mexico. Republicans beware: Your political future is at stake.
Jeffrey T. Kuhner is a radio commentator on WRKO AM-680 in Boston.
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